By now we were finishing up the school year. For such a small town, living in Crystal City, Texas was never dull. The population there was about 1400. The town was small but it had everything we needed. We could have settled down there, however Jackie and I had made up our minds to go back to California. It turned out to be a good thing even though we did not know it at the time. It was just a feeling that we had. Jackie was worried about her father. He had a serious heart attack a few years earlier that left him weak. He was still young and he had a large family to take care of. Maybe that was on her mind.
One of our favorite places for dinner in Crystal City was a place called Larry’s. It was a steakhouse. It was good enough to keep us returning there. The parking lot was unpaved. Each car or truck that pulled into the place stirred up a cloud of fine dust and it took a while for the dust to settle. I was watching the light streaming through the clouds while we were waiting for our dinner and thinking about our last few days there before returning to California.
I wrote these words later on that night.
A mud coated pickup truck raised
a cloud of dust as it drove into the parking lot
and stopped outside our window.
The setting sun gave the cloud
shades of orange and red.
We watched the dust cloud float
then slowly settle like goose down
to the places it had been
before it was aroused.
“More coffee?” Caroline asked
with the pot in her friendly hand
and stains on her apron.
The steak was delicious.
The coffee was perfect
as it always was
at Larry’s on Highway 83.
Crystal City, Texas
May 11, 1977